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The Joy of Knowing Why
The answers to “why” questions are “meanings.” The bigger the question the bigger the meaning. Eventually, questions get so big and hard that answers begin to move beyond the natural world into the murky world of philosophy. Then, in the blink of an eye, we can find ourselves sliding into the even deeper and murkier philosophical waters of metaphysics. Yet the powerful mistress of curiosity seduces us to push on, to satisfy the unquenchable thirst of knowing.
Why ask Why?
“To what purpose, to what practical end, does this quest amount to?” many will say.
The simple answer is experiencing the joy of discovery that we all felt as a child, and that we can continue to feel throughout life if we follow our passion.
The complex practical answer is that in the heat of the “why” chase, unanticipated and practical good stuff drops out–like all of modern society’s conveniences.
The last word goes to ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates, who said: The unexamined life is not worth living. I would be remiss if I did not add a note of warning that both Socrates and Kurt Cobain DID examine their life and, upon reflection, decided to depart from it.
The Moral: Make sure you have a strong rope tied securely around your waist and anchored to someone you love and trust when you venture into the metaphysical “why” land.
Gaming the System,Totally
I smiled at the irony of a close friend of mine who rejoiced a few years ago that her son in college chose to abandon his pursuit of a degree in philosophy on her request. Instead he concentrated on why “story interaction” is important when people use their digital information devices, a largely intangible metaphysical experience.
Being a good son, he satisfied Mom while gaming the system, “totally,” by creating his own degree that integrated philosophy and art into interactive digital design. He is having a ball now working in a hot startup interactive design company creating the future. Passion will win out in one form or another, given half a chance.
Why This Blog on Meaning
I got interested in metaphysics many years ago when I was confronted with a basic business strategy question: Does value drive money or does money drive value as the key organizing principle of business? As a physicist, I initially saw the answer to this question as a possible “Theory of Everything” for business. The unexpected journey prompted by this question is explored in future posts.
In this blog I will write about what I learned from my pushes on life during the past 30 years in my research, business experiences, conversations with others, and my continued exploration of “meaning” in topics such as:
- Pirsig-Metaphysics of Quality
- Hegel-Thesis, Anti-Thesis, Synthesis
- Frieden-Science from Fisher Information
- Modis-S-Curves as The Shape of Natural Growth
- Einstein-Riding a Wave of Change…Light
- Value Creates Reality vs Reality Creates Value
- Struggle Between “What is” & “What can be”
- 7 “Musts” All Living Systems Must Have
- Plato and Platypus Walk into a Bar
- “Need to Know Why” as a Unifying Force?
- Five Self-Answering Questions & One Unanswerable
My goal in each blog is to follow the advice of William Burroughs to writers:
- Write about what matters.
- Write what you know about.
- Write in your authentic voice.
I welcome comments, hope I provide some value to you, and look forward to learning more about the topics I write about from you.
Robert Joseph Harris, May 2014